Blow by Blow
We hold what hope we can in the intimacies of life, the little breadcrumbs—be that through a small audience, a jewel of a sentence, or one evening well spent with a book. Rarely do we understand our impact on others, where the sliver of an action can set a spark in someone.
As writers, we cannot map the internal landscapes of our audiences. We cannot peer over their shoulders as they read our words and we cannot be inside their heads and hearts as the syllables hit their ears. Occasionally, we can get a sort of call and response, where we feel and see how our individual creativity inspires and feeds off another’s (like when Cam and I write poetry back and forth, or like when letter writing takes on a lyrical quality, or like that book by Marvin Bell and William Stafford).
And so our lives are lived largely on faith. Writing is a small boat and faith is the ocean it floats upon. The best writing happens when we ditch the paddle, leap from the boat, and do what we must fearlessly and without looking back.
Today, that is my struggle. I just got the email that I did not get selected as a finalist for the Andy Warhol Arts Writers Grant Program – this was the $34,000 one that was my ticket out of my Coffeehouse job, my ticket into a career as an arts writer, and my ticket into the
next bigger and brighter thing. This was, in effect, the biggest thing I’ve hoped for alongside my applications to Whitman College and Pacific University. And I did not get it. Not even a chance to advance to the final round of review.
I’m reading and puttering; trying to get back to my creative self. Sending out the Fine Arts Work Center application this morning took a lot of me. I don’t believe that I’ll get it, and I had to fill out the application on the heels of 4 rejections last week (all for my thesis work). Then today, this—the biggest rejection of my career work I’ve ever had.
I’m at a loss and yet I know I cannot stop. I have to keep going, yet where I thought a big shift was in sight, now I’m not sure there is one.
That’s me. Here on the mountain. Snowed in again. And going now to put another log on the fire.